Three Up, Three Down: Stephen Strasburg does it all

Welcome to this week’s edition of Three Up, Three Down — your weekly catch-up of the three best highlights (and lowlights) from around the league. We’re here for all of the cheers and the jeers, because it’s baseball. You can’t have a winner without someone losing along the way.

Up: The donnybrook in Detroit

Last week, the Yankees and Tigers engaged in what was easily the most bizarre game of the season so far. Gary Sanchez was in the process of punishing the Tigers like he’d done for the entire series, and then the Tigers plunked him for his next at-bat. There were no punches thrown then, but that was the flame that lit the fuse for what came later on.

The Yankees responded by throwing behind Miguel Cabrera. There were immediate ejections, but things didn’t get really heated until Cabrera and Austin Romine exchanged words. This resulted in the two deciding to exchange hands, and it kicked off the biggest brawl of the season. The two teams continued to plunk each other for the rest of the game, which ended with eight players and personnel being thrown out.

Down: Gary Sanchez goes the cheap route

When the suspensions for the big brawl in Detroit were announced, Cabrera received the stiffest punishment of all: a seven-game suspension. Meanwhile, one player who didn’t get ejected received a hefty punishment as well. Sanchez avoided getting the gate in the game, but he earned four games on the sidelines due to his actions.

It’s one thing to come in and help your teammates during a brawl. It’s another to hit someone while he’s down, which is what Sanchez did. He may have only received a four-game suspension, but that’s the type of thing that sticks with your reputation for longer than four games. It’s hard to come out of a big brawl looking bad, but Sanchez managed to accomplish that feat.

Up: Stephen Strasburg shows off his bat and pitching prowess

Even though Bryce Harper is still on the shelf, it’s a good time to be the Nationals. They’re going to easily win the NL East, and all they have to worry about is making sure they’re in good form heading into the postseason. As long as Stephen Strasburg plays like he did on Wednesday, the Nationals may actually make some noise come October.

On Wednesday, Strasburg went the distance and shut out the Marlins, which is a big feat when you consider that Giancarlo Stanton has been destroying baseballs at a ridiculous pace as of late. Not only did he shut down Miami’s offense, but he also went deep. That led to the Nationals having a bit of fun comparing their hurler to Miami’s big slugger. The team in the nation’s capital is really feeling itself right now.

Down: Mets injury woes somehow get even worse

2017 has been a complete and utter horror show for the New York Mets. Although it would’ve been difficult for them to overcome the Nationals in the NL East, they were still expected to at least compete for a spot in October. Instead, injuries have plagued them for their entire campaign, and the result is that they’ve been out of the playoff picture for a long time. Now, the injuries are starting to really pile up.

Yoenis Cespedes has been shut down for the season due to hamstring issues. Michael Conforto managed to dislocate his shoulder while swinging and missing at a pitch. Zack Wheeler was shut down for arm issues as well. David Wright’s career may finally be coming to an end. It’s just been a disastrous season for the Mets, and the only thing they can do now is count down the days until this season closes and hope it doesn’t get any worse than it is right now.

Up: Angels get some big help for the stretch run

The AL Wild Card race is still insanely congested. It’s to the point where the Kansas City Royals went over 40 innings without scoring last week and are currently two games under .500, yet they’re still within striking distance of the second Wild Card spot. It’s absolute madness, and it means that if one team can go on an extended run, that’ll be the difference between hanging in this pack and playing October baseball.

The Angels are still in the race, and they’ve got a huge trump card in the form of Mike Trout. They also decided to get serious about making the playoffs by adding Justin Upton to their squad via waiver trade. Upton is having a great season this year, and even though this is clearly a one-month rental, it will absolutely be worth it if it means that the Angels can get Mike Trout back into the postseason.

Down: Astros and Rangers force each other to go to Florida for a series

I’m going to start this off by applauding everybody who’s done his or her part in helping Houston recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. It truly takes a team effort to bounce back from a disaster like that, and it seems like there are plenty of people in Houston — from famous faces like J.J. Watt to everyday anonymous citizens who live both in and outside of the area — who are willing to make sure that Houston bounces back.

Of course, the terrible weather in Houston meant that the Astros were displaced this week. They could’ve played this series in relatively close Arlington, but the two teams couldn’t come to an agreement and ended up having to go all the way to Tropicana Field in Tampa. While they’re making the best of a bad situation with this agreement, both teams came off looking a little bit petty when it came to hashing this out. Hopefully there isn’t a situation like this in the future, but if there is, here’s hoping that whomever is involved deals with it better than they did.

Demetrius Bell can be contacted on Twitter @fergoe, which is where you can catch him tweeting mostly about any and everything under the sun. If you enjoyed what you’ve been reading, then go ahead and give him a follow!

Yardbarker: MLB

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